Announcing the Winner of the 2022 Plays in Translation Contest: Chins Up! Shoulders Back!

Image announcing the winner of the 2022 Plays in Translation Contest.
[Image description: A black-and-white photo of a hand grasping the handle of a suitcase. Superimposed over the image are the words, “The Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre presents a staged reading of ‘Chins Up! Shoulders Back!’ by Ainur Karim, translated from the Russian by Ellen Vayner and Slava Faybysh. A co-production with the American Literary Translators Association. Winner of the 2022 Plays in Translation Contest”]

The America Literary Translators Association (ALTA), in collaboration with the Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre in Tucson, AZ, is excited to announce the winner of the 2022 Plays in Translation Contest!

This year’s competition winner, Chins Up! Shoulders Back! by Ainur Karim, translated from Russian by Ellen Vayner and Slava Faybysh, has been selected from a diverse field of plays translated into English that speak to the theme “from spark to light”: emphasizing growth and change, in styles ranging from whimsical to dark, from inspiring to threatening.

The Kazakh play Chins Up! Shoulders Back! features a cross-generational Kazakh history that is largely unknown in the West. Based on real-life events, the play features three educated women who were forced to give up their previous careers in order to adapt to a collapsing society. Along with approximately one million other Kazakhs (80% of whom were women), they turn to ferrying goods over the border to keep their families and the country afloat.

In 2019, three middle-aged women grant an interview to a doctoral student studying chelnoki – educated women who worked for the state before the collapse of the USSR and turned to “marketeering” in the aftermath of the fall – and in doing so, allow us a glimpse into the personal and political realities of workers in an illicit economy. Chins Up! Shoulders Back! offers audiences slices of women’s lives at a moment of seismic change, in which their communities’ evolution, growth, and survival is tied to their own.

Since its inception, The Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre has been thrilled to present new works of translation and adaptation with such beloved works as The Little Prince, Blood Wedding, and The Crack: Among Wild Animals. This event is a collaboration between ALTA and the Scoundrel & Scamp Theatre as a part of Arizona Translates!.

Directed by Tioni Collins

November 4, 2022 at 7:30 PM

For more information visit the Scoundrel & Scamp’s webpage.

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